Douglas Carswell

28 APR 2016

Want more bobbies on the beat? Vote for it!

People often say we need more bobbies on the beat. Now you have the chance to make that happen. Next week's PCC elections make the police directly accountable to the people they serve.

The idea of elected sheriffs – which I first proposed some 14 years ago – isn't just about police accountability. It's also about localism. Different regions have different issues with crime. Local people need the right to determine local police priorities.

PCCs faced a lot of criticism when they were introduced four years ago. But they've proved the doubters wrong. Best of all, they have overthrown ACPO – the quango that used to set one-size-fits-all policy from the top down. Localism is working.

And PCCs are only going to get better. In 2012, the election turnout was low, as people weren't sure how the new system was going to work. Now people are familiar with the system, and can judge the incumbents on their records, elections will be harder fought, and turnout will be higher. More public engagement means better policing.

If locally elected police chiefs work, why stop there? Plenty of public services are still centrally directed by remote bureaucrats in Whitehall. What if we had locally elected transport, environment, or health commissioners too? What if we gave people direct control over the public services they receive?

Localism is a question of trust. Do you trust the Gentlemen in Whitehall – or Brussels – to know what's best for you? Or do you trust yourself? Better public services will come from more direct democracy.

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